Over the long weekend, I was in Oman, marveling on its capital’s charm and interesting history. Just a neighbor to UAE, Oman is an easy country to visit for it is very accessible through air or land travel. I’ve been to Oman for quite a few times already and most of my trips to the country is by road. I’m usually on a carpool with friends but this time around, I tried crossing the border through a public bus.
A few days before our date of travel (yes, we crammed prepping for the trip!), we’ve been bugging Oman National Transport Company or ONTC for the bus schedules and ticket booking. We wanted to take their evening bus to Muscat but we were told that the availability of the bus will only be known on the day of the trip itself. So, we called ONTC first thing in the morning, check if there’s an evening trip, did a quick run to their office and booked the 11PM bus ride to Oman.
At 9-ish there’s quite a number of passengers in the office and the bus came at around 10:30 PM.
The bus was good although it’s a bit old and needs some repairs–some of the a/cs don’t have covers so it was really cold. Seats are comfortable with a big leg room, more than enough for me. Lights were switched off the moment we set off so I fell asleep right away.
After an hour and so, we stopped and had to get off the bus. It was bloody cold outside and it took me quite awhile to get back to my senses and realize that we’re on the border. We had to queue for the exit stamp. It took us about 15 minutes and then off we went. I easily got back to my interrupted sleep when all of a sudden, we did another stop–that was 3 to 5 minutes after the immigration. This time, we had to go down the bus and bring our bags outside for checking. Stood outside the freezing border for a good 30 minutes. Back to the bus and before I shut my eyes for the third time, I noticed that the lights weren’t turned off. 10 minutes passed and I was right, off to the third stop–visa. We went in a small building in the middle of nowhere, queued for the visa and entry stamp to Oman. Visa on arrival is available for UAE residents but it’s wise to check with the consulate before you go to check if you’re eligible for visa on arrival. It usually depends on your profession. A tourist visa costs 50 AED. When all of us passengers finished the visa stamping and stuff, we proceeded to our journey to Oman.
Some passengers went down on some bus stops along the way. It was not too long when we finally reached Ruwi Bus Station. We arrived a few minutes before 6 in the morning–that’s about six hours travel.
Just a few important information if you’re gonna travel to Oman by bus:
- ONTC office is located in Deira, near DNATA, just beside Ponderosa/Caravan Restaurant
- One way fare is 55 AED while two-way is 90 AED.
- Visa on arrival is available for 50 AED. Check with the consulate for your eligibility for this. Otherwise, get a visa before boarding.
- Bus travels to Muscat daily at 7:30 AM, 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM. On Thursdays and Fridays, there’s also a bus at 6:00 PM. Evening bus (11:00 PM) is subject to availability.
- Bus departs at Muscat bound to Dubai at 6:00 AM, 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM daily. Additional trips during Wednesdays and/or Thursdays at 1:30 PM.
Need more info? Drop ONTC a line at 04-295 99 20 or send them a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the rest of my Muscat Series: